Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

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Jacob Rhoden
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Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Jacob Rhoden » October 18th, 2018, 8:01 pm

Wallace describes πνεῖ in John 3:8 (τὸ πνεῦμα ὅπου θέλει πνεῖ) as an example of 'gnomic' present, it follows that the next statement 'καὶ τὴν φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ἀκούεις, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ οἶδας πόθεν ἔρχεται καὶ ποῦ ὑπάγει·' is also generally gnomic in nature. But to my native English ears, the fact that ἀκούεις and οἶδας are second person singular sounds odd.

I am not sure if it feels odd because I am used to reading it in English and reading the "you" in English as a general collective statement, or if grammatically speaking, the fact that Jesus is making a direct statement to Nicodemus individually in the first person, that ἀκούεις and οἶδας should be understood as a direct statement to Nicodemus rather than a more gnomic/general statement? Is it odd, or natural, that gnomic statements might use the second person singular?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Singular οἶδας in John 3:8

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 19th, 2018, 5:42 am

In the context of the discourse, the you singular refers specifically to Nicodemus. In the broader context of John's literary purpose, Nicodemus represents any inquirer, and so the statement has general application to everyone.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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